Saturday March 24, 2018
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Women, do the math and own those five days

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By Swara Bhaskar

I skulked home one afternoon from school in a particularly muggy hot Delhi summer month and spent the day cursing fate that I was born a girl. I was 14 years old, in class ninth and had just discovered that my period, the first two awful days (!), were going to coincide with the two days of the annual Leadership Training Camp (LTC) that all class monitors were eligible to attend

The LTC was an exciting and prestigious camp, which only elected student representatives of each class and two nominees were invited to, where through a series of interactive games and sessions with teachers and guest lecturers, students learnt the values of leadership. I had hoped to attend the camp for some years and finally that year I was one of the elected class monitors.

I was excited and bouncing my way through the school corridors till the tell tale stain showed up and all joy was deflated. I spent the afternoon sulking at home. In the evening, my father came home from work. (My mother at the time was pursuing her Ph.D course work in New York, so my father and I, out of sheer necessity, had developed a fairly candid relationship about matters of menstruation!)

He enquired after my long face, and I told him I had to skip the LTC which was the next and the day after. “Why,” he asked. “Because I am starting my period tomorrow,” I answered.

“So?,” he asked

“So I can’t go,” I said. “Why,” he asked again. “Because!” I said, “It’s going to be my first two days…”

“So?” He persisted. The ‘why so’ game was getting to me. “Papa” I snapped. “I can’t be running around playing the games and doing rigorous activities during my ‘down time’.”

“You mean you are physically or medically incapable of doing physical activity at this time?” My persistent father continued to interrogate.

“Oh God, Papa, why don’t you understand? It’s irritating and awkward. What if something happens” (Something was the unspeakable horror that plagued all young girls and women and probably still does, through their entire fertile years)

The fear of ‘something’. Read: What if the tell-tale stain appeared! “Hmmm” Said my father thoughtfully, “Let’s work this out exactly. So these two days you will skip LTC. Then next month again, in those two days you may have to skip something else. So every year, two into twelve is twenty four days of skipping.”

He went on. “You are fourteen now and will probably have periods for the next thirty years, so that’s twenty four into thirty. Seven hundred and twenty days. That’s 17,280 total hours of missing out on things you want to do in life. Only because you were scared that ‘something’ may happen.”

I was stumped. The math seemed accurate and the logic solid. For want of words, I made a face. My gruff father, cleared his throat, “Look your mother would deal with these things better and would know better. I’m a man but it seems a little ridiculous to waste so many precious active days and hours over something that is natural, and happens to half the world population at some point in their life every month.”

He continued in the same vein. “It’s your body and it’s a natural process. Own it instead of hating it or fearing it. And own these two or three or five days. They are as much yours as the other days of the month. But then again, I’m a man. I don’t know about these things.”

I made another face, and stuck my hand out. What, he asked. Give me Rs.150.

Why, he said? “I have to buy sanitary pads, what else, I have to pack for tomorrow”.

Thanks Papa, You taught your daughter a precious lesson that day, to own her body. It’s a natural process and we must own those five days in the month, like every other moment in our life. A lesson I have been applying till today, be it when I have a shoot or have to attend an event.

It’s incredible that sanitary pad brands in India highlight the importance of menstrual management and hygiene that encourages us girls to be confident, unstoppable and not treat those five days as taboo. Seriously girls, just do the math. (IANS)

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Four hacks for women’s wellness

Yoga is known to be the ultimate healer for the soul and body. Pixabay
  • For most women, wellness takes a back seat
  • It is very important for women to take care of health
  • There are very simple things they can do to take care of themselves

Wellness takes a backseat for most women, what with a hectic schedule taking care of work, home, and all the people in their lives. This Women’s Day, encourage the women in your life to make themselves a priority and practice these simple wellness tips to improve their overall well-being.

It is  very important for women to take care of themselves. Instagram
It is very important for women to take care of themselves. Instagram

Dr Hariprasad, Ayurveda Expert, The Himalaya Drug Company, recommends the following tips to help women become healthier without having to take too much time out of their busy schedule.

Get enough sleep: The function of sleep is to not only relax the body, but also rest and restore the mind. It is necessary to heal and repair your heart and blood vessels. While you can function for a while without getting the necessary amount of sleep every day, it will eventually take a toll on you. Commit to sleeping a minimum of seven hours a day while aiming for eight, and you will feel yourself getting healthier and happier in a short amount of time. This will help you achieve both mental and physical wellness, and your mind and body will be at ease.

Also Read: It is very important for women to take care of themselves. Instagram

Keep up energy levels: Use an energy booster like chyavanaprasha for that extra push you need to achieve your daily goals. Chyavanaprasha, which has amalaki (Indian gooseberry), gives that supplementary dose of antioxidants, in addition to boosting your energy levels. Along with this, try quick exercises like stretching and jogging to keep those endorphins flowing.

Practice preventive care: Long-term wellness is a better approach than seeking short-term solutions for the problem at hand. Having Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) can help you practice preventive care by building your immunity. According to Ayurveda texts and modern research, Guduchi increases immunity against infections by increasing the effectiveness of disease-fighting white blood cells. These fight infections and influence various other immune effector cells, ensuring early recovery. Including Guduchi in your daily diet will help increase the body’s resistance to stress and illness. It can help reduce the chances of facing health problems altogether, rather than simply resorting to curative measures when it arises.

yoga asanas
Women wellbeing is often ignored. Pixabay

Set aside some me-time: Take some time out for yourself during the day to just breathe and reflect on your day. You can do this in a structured manner using yoga and meditation techniques, but the important part is to consistently carve time out from your day for yourself. Setting aside even 10 minutes will help you relax and feel more in control of your day. You will feel the frustrations of your day melt away, leaving you to face the rest of the day with a calmer mind and a more positive outlook. IANS